What visible differences between you and your buddy are there? It seems you are very accomplish already, then what separates his skills vs. yours? Ball striking, short games within 100 yd, chipping, putting, different shot making, etc or all of above and beyond? Is your pro friend in pga tour or web.com tour? If not, does your friend say his skills are not up to the par to those guys? I'm always curious about this topic. I watch pga games on tv and I know they are good. Just can't wrap my head around to fathom how good they are since I play with mostly weekend rough riders and tree huggers
Well to start, he is about 30 yards longer than me. That's not a requirement to be at his level, but it does obviously help because he's quite accurate. I would say he hits more fairways than I do and I pride myself on drive accuracy, but he is also significantly longer than I am. I am not extremely long though, usually between 260 and 270. I'd say he's 280-290 on an average drive, but can swell up on one when he needs to go longer at the expense of accuracy. His game is just very consistent and well rounded. Probably the most impressive part is his iron play. Anything that is a 6 iron or below RARELY misses the green, and anything 9 iron or below is usually a very makeable birdie opportunity. Anything with a wedge is a miss if it's outside 10-15 feet. Putting is probably the worst part of his game, but it's still well above average in terms of amateur standards. He's not the best putter I know, but he's probably top 5 and that's with me saying it's the weakest part of his game.
The one surprising part is that he cannot shape the ball very well laterally, but he can vertically. He can hit a low penetrating shot into the wind, or he can hit it high so that it lands soft on the green. However, he pretty much is strictly a draw player and this hurts him at times. He really struggles to fade the ball, but has a subtle draw with most clubs that he can control very well. I would say that I can actually shot-shape better than he can in terms of hitting different shots, but his control and consistency is more refined than mine.
He spent a couple years right after he got out of college traveling around the country trying to make it on tour but couldn't make it, and eventually the expenses caught up with him and he had to let it go. Now he plays as a pro locally, but by locally I mean within about a 5-6 hour radius from where we live. He travels to the big tournaments to play in the pro division and makes some decent money at it, though definitely nothing comparable to playing on pga or winning on the web.com. He does give his PGA dream a go every year though by going to a couple qualifiers. In fact, he tees off today in a qualifier for the U.S. Open. He's made it to the sectional before, but has never qualified to play in the Open. I'm hoping he's able to put together a solid round today. He will openly admit though that his game is a definite step below the PGA guys. He has played with Russ Cochran several times before, along with some other pros from Kentucky, but he says these guys are "magicians" when it comes to short iron play.
I don't mean to make him sound like a world beater because he's not. I can actually beat him from time to time, but it's not often and never if he plays well. It does put into perspective how good these guys on tour are though. As good as he is, he still isnt' good enough to even make it. In terms of his skills vs mine, if you watched us on one hole you may not notice much of a difference between us except in length. However, if you were to average everything out, every shot he hits is a bit better than every shot I hit, and over the course of a round/month/season you can see that his game is on another level than mine.